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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Now Showing (At The Ballot): Artistas

A recent poster by GMA News reminded me of a sterling fact that has been more pronounced with each election that I am witness to in our country: the rise of the artista (celebrity) cannot be denied.

A twist to "a star-studded affair."
(Courtesy of GMA News)

Enter the artista into our political lives.

We not only get to see them in the big and small screens, they now write our laws and enforce them as well.

Who can forget President Estrada, attaining the highest post of the land? (His defenders keep reminding everyone that "to be fair", he did rise up the ranks in San Juan, a city where his family is now considered the de facto rulers. I guess he's done with San Juan beause he now wants to battle it out with Mayor Lim for Manila.)

When I am asked about how I feel about it, I respond by saying both sides of the coin have compelling reasons.

Those who see their entry into politics as "perfectly fine" say that (1) you can't fault the artista for having popularity on their side because other candidates have a track record, or money, or entrenched underlings as their trump card and (2) it would infringe on the right of a citizen of this country - who just happens to be an artista - to run for an elective post, if that person satisfies the bare, minimum requirements for the post.

On the other hand, those who are appalled with their foray into politics believe (1) it is an undue advantage that they are exploting their mass appeal and fame and convert it to votes and a shot at another career (since some of those running are considered "inactive" or "not really successful" with their showbiz careers) and (2) voters are nasisilawan (blinded) by the name recognition/recall that they don't bother electing a more "deserving" candidate - probably a career civil servant - and end up making the "wrong" choice.

If you have seen my posts about the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, it would be hypocritical of me to say that I cannot trust people to make the "right" decisions when that is exactly what I am voicing out when I support the RH Bill, that people should be given the choice - and the correct, scientific information help make those choices, to plan their families the best way it suits their needs.

I am also passionate about education being the great equalizer - we may have different stands on so many different issues, but as long as you have facts, and not just rhetoric, "conventional wisdom" (which I see no difference with "tradition") or dogma, as your basis for your decision, then I will respect that decision or choice.

And so it is with the celebrities who now take on a political route.

At the end of the day, we get the (democratic) government we elected, and we will deserve that choice.

Quick question, though: how do we expect to be a robust, economic powerhouse if we are perfectly happy that the people we elect to lead us satisfy only the barest of (legal) requirements?

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